One Person Doesn't Really "Complete You" Or Your Marriage

friends on beach
Love, Self

After her husband's cancer diagnosis, one writer reflects on the importance of her longtime friends.

During my husband's recent hospitalization, dear friends from days gone by contacted us. Words of love and support and prayers kept us afloat during those difficult days. Terry and I were so moved by the outpouring of affection and concern by longtime friends, and we were reminded how meaningful those friendships have been to us over the years.

The New York Times recently featured a piece by Alex Williams, titled "Friends of a Certain Age: Why Is It Hard to Make Friends Over 30?" In the article Williams laments the idea that it is difficult to develop meaningful friendships as we age due to time constraints, work and family obligations, and the inability to connect emotionally to people after a certain age. He believes we engage in our most significant relationships before the age of 30. Based upon the experiences of our own lives, my husband and I tend to agree.

The couples we met while in college and in the young-marrieds' group at church are still the friends we hold most dear to our hearts. We were all on the same playing field, so to speak: establishing our homes and careers, having babies, most of us struggling financially. We found joys in the simple things of life: cookouts, camping, playing games, watching our little ones grow into another generation of friendships. Why Won't Christian Men Date Women Who Go To Their Church?

My husband and I have been married 36 years. Most of our closest friends have been married as long or longer, and those ties are securely locked in place. I truly believe one reason for the longevity of each of our marriages is due to our friendships. If I could offer any advice to young couples today it would be to find friends like we are blessed to have. Find friends who share or honor your faith. Find friends who are committed to their marriages and families. Find friends who are brave enough to keep you accountable. Find friends who accept you, believe in you, and build you up. Find friends who want to have fun.

Here's to you, the dear friends of our youth (Jack and Kathy; Warren and Beth; Dave and Toni; Terry and Renee; Ray and Brenda; John and Sandy). I say thank you. You all have immeasurably enriched our lives with your love, your wisdom, and your enduring belief in us. We hold so many precious memories in our hearts.

How we treasure those times spent together: Going to Chi-Chi's Mexican restaurant every Sunday after church for several years with Dave, Toni, Terry, Renee and all of our elementary-aged children. How we ate and laughed and celebrated birthdays. The best part was that the kids ate free. There was setting up camp in the rain with Warren and Beth and all of our kids at the Jellystone Camp. We will never forget snowmobiling in a blizzard with John and Sandy, when John practically crawled into the dryer at the restaurant to unthaw himself. There were the simple times of sharing coffee at the kitchen table with Ray and Brenda at their country home. Are You Carrying Your Weight In Your Friendships?